Jungle hiking, cookin up a storm & livin it up!!!
Trip Start Jan 24, 2011
17Trip End Ongoing
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Best of: CHIANG MAI
The northern thai adventures...
We just spent the last week headin to Chiang Mai - in the northern Thailand territory - by way of Ayuthaya (where we pet the local mastiffs & a massive mastiff puppy too) and viewed the amazing temples around the outside of the city moat/river. We even ate on a floating restaraunt... and it was delish! We made a quick stopover in a small town called Lop Buri as well, it was a monkey town... the streets were littered with tons of small monkeys looking to get into trouble:)
Once we arrived in Chaing Mai and hopped off the cramped overnight train, we decided to relax for a few days to get ready for the hiking we'd planned on doing in the Northern mountains
The next day... it was time for us to head off on our biggest adventure yet, a trip into the deep green jungles of thailand to stay in the mountain villages. A hike that would take 3days/2nights. There was a crew of 11, then our tour guides Porn & Jungle Boy (JB) - an ex ladyboy, both such cool guys tho. We stopped off on our way out to the checkpoint to get some supplies and feed the hungover folks some much needed food. Then we crusied out of town in the back of truck/tuk-tuk to the trailhead....
Jandals on first, we started out into the jungle with loads of deet and nothing to lose!
We stumbled thru river crossings, up steep hillsides, between bamboo forests & spider webs, sweating like never before..
We all started to settle in, unpacking and picking our bamboo beds with the best mosquito net, ie. the one with the least holes in it. Then taking showers in a hut the size of an outhouse with less coverage, a mud/pole floor (that mel got attacked by!) and a dripping pipe overhead... wash fast so the mozzies don't get you and get dressed even faster... oh, but was it magical after that massive hike!
Feeling fantastic and fresh, now, the real fun starts....
The locals brought us out some amazing Thai dishes for dinner, truly beautiful food, and bucketloads of it... we horked that down quickly and then we started to unwind with some local whiskey and chang beer... and kept drinking until the beer was tapped and the hard stuff was dry. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better... the den opened up... and we experienced a whole other part of Asia's History:) Wow, so sweet, sticky and numbing... when in Rome! The night finally started to wind down at half passed buzzed and we all passed out hard with our little tootsies hangin outside the mosquito netting. Beauty.
The next day we split off into 2 separate groups - the 3 dayers and the 2 dayers. We were totally stoked with our crew. We had Porn (who was super sad after being broken up with on the phone during our hike! Poor guy!) Sascha (Super nice young guy from Germany, who we met up with quite a few more random times on our travels:) Anne (Super funny mama from Colorado) and her daughter Mel (Super sweet, artistic chick..
That night we finally arrived at the riverside and the rain made the current far too strong for swimming, so we bathed on the rocks, ate some amazing massaman curry, crazy bitter cucumber curry and crashed out hard!
Day 3... After 1 hour of hiking, we hopped in a ute and drove to the waterfall, with the hopes of a nice swim, but the water was still too fast to have a dip.. it was still super beautiful and really powerful. After that, we set off to hang with some elephants. Yah! Aside from the asshole Mahouts (the trainers/drivers) the big gorgeous grey elephants were unreal. Anne and Mel were in the front on the mama, then there was her baby tagging along behind her, Sascha was on another male ele behind that, and we took up the rear on the big daddy with massive tusks. I seriously can't believe the hills they made it up and down, sooooooo steep Anne said even horses wouldn't go
The highlight of the Elephant experience: (we posted videos of both)
We went thru the river crossing at the end of the ride and the baby was so little and the current so strong, it started to float away with the rush of water. Despite a few cracks on the head by the mahout for turning off course, before he realised what she was doing, the mama ele circled around from the front to try to save her baby, then sascha's ele got loose from the rope, moved around behind the baby and pushed it forward with it's legs. The mom stood in front and cut the current so the baby didn't have to struggle... and they finally pulled thru and got it safely across the river. It was tearjerking! We got to the top of the last hill and hopped off onto a platform and started petting them, wow are they beautiful animals. The baby kept trying to climb up with us, putting it's feet up and lifting itself up with it's trunk. It even rolled mel's arm up in it's trunk and started trying to gnaw/suck on it, strong little bubba! We didn't wanna leave, but next time we'd so much rather volunteer at a wildlife refuge center for elephants instead of selling out to those damn spots that let their mahouts abuse the poor things, it was heartbreaking.
We headed off after that, onto the next stop on our adventure... we got to another stop on the river and hopped aboard bamboo rafts 2 by 2. The river was fast that day. Jonny even got to help steer the raft with a massive bamboo pole... but the newbie driver and he got mixed up on left and right and we got high centered on a huge rock in the middle of the river, oooh did we get soaked!!! It was so much fun.
Finally the journey brought us back to Chiang Mai to get the girls away safely on their train. What an amazing time we had... we'll definitely remember those experiences for a lifetime.....